The Celtics were a people that reconciled opposites, day and night, dark and light as the continuum of the same forces that bound the lives of men and gods together. Unlike us, with our 9 to 5 routines, the Celts viewed Time as fluid, as having the ability to flow back on itself. The Druids called prophecy “remembering the future”.
Also, unlike us, the Celts found the seeding of things in the darkness. A Neolithic people of the land, they were keyed to the rhythms of life and death, the fertility of the land and of their tribes, and the phases of the Moon. As the Sun dipped below the horizon, the moon rose, and literally, a new day began.
Instead of being the end of the day’s activities, sleep and dreaming were the start of the daily cycle for Celtic peoples. It was the natural time for adults to spend some alone together, as children slept and the adults got to the business of making their brothers and sisters. The darkness was associated with planting seeds for future growth.
The Celtic worldview centered on balancing the dark and the light. As such, the Four Fire festivals, Olmelc, Beltane, Lughaan, and Samhain, all festivals celebrating the cycle of life, were not celebrated at the solstices points, but at the midpoints of them. The Solstice points and the fire festivals celebrated the cycles of the sun as the male principal. The male principal was important to be sure and this eight periods that marked the passage of the Sun was seen as the life cycle of the male god, the consort of the great goddess. But most evident of the view of balancing dark and light is the highlight of their monthly calendar, the Full Moon. The seed of the dark new moon had flowered, and the fullness of the power of the moon was on display. Poised in mid cycle, between new and old moon, the Full moon was ripe with future promise of the seed planted in the darkness.
Today the full Harvest Moon, marks the fullness of the fruits of our past efforts.
It is the month the Celts called Samonois, the seed-fall. It is a time of preparation for the cold and the darkness as we remember what the future will be. In a few weeks, we will be at the time of the fourth fire festival, what we call Halloween and which the Celts celebrated as the New Year.
Lynn Hayes also writes about the Harvest Moon here.
Photo published under a Creative Commons license from Flickr.